Hunting behavior by the sand wasp rubrica nasuta (christ 1791) (hymenoptera sphecidae)

  • Fontenelle J
  • Martins R
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Abstract

Rubrica nasuta (Christ 1791) is a solitary wasp that feeds its larvae progressivelywith adults of at least eight families of flies: Tabanidae, Stratiomyidae,Asilidae, Bombyliidae, Syrphidae, Calliphoridae, Tachinidae, and Muscidae. Thewasps showed two tactics of searching for prey: a continuous search for fliessparsely distributed in pathways; a restricted search in more profitable patches.In the former, the wasps were seen alongside dirt-roads and in places with openvegetation, flying about 30 cm above the ground. In the latter, restricted searchingwas observed wherever large quantities of flies were found, for instance, overephemeral resources like flowers or feces. Restricting the search to a patch couldbe more profitable but requires previous information about the distribution ofthe patches. This information could be gained when the wasps are engaged incontinuous searching. The R. nasuta searching flight was performed aroundobstacles, like twigs and leaves, where potential prey could be perching. Once aprey is detected, the wasp hovered to position itself about 25 cm away from and10 cm lower than the prey. Afterwards, the wasp flew straight towards the prey.Only one successful attack was observed, in which the wasp could be seen stingingthe prey at least twice in its ventral side. Some special observations onpredator-prey interactions are also described. Considering the great behavioraldifferences of R. nasutas prey, the use of various searching and attack tacticsmay strongly affect prey selection.KEY WORDS: Rubrica nasuta, Sphecidae, sand wasp, digger wasp, solitary wasp,hunting behavior, searching behavior, predatory behavior, Diptera.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Digger wasp
  • Diptera
  • Hunting behavior
  • Predatory behavior
  • Rubrica nasuta
  • Sand wasp
  • Searching behavior
  • Solitary wasp
  • Sphecidae

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Authors

  • J. C.R. Fontenelle

  • R. P. Martins

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